January 17th, 2021

Valkyries Cruise Past the Rockets

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Ed Peak

Staff Writer


Valkyries Cruise Past the Rockets
photo by Ed Peak

This was supposed to be a year that Sacred Heart didn't rule the Seventh Region. Look again. The visiting Valkyries remained unbeaten rolling past rival Assumption 74-51, Sunday night.

 

While there is still a long season ahead and regional favorites Manual and Central are on pause because of the Coronavirus, Sacred Heart (5-0) has been impressive

.

Coming off a 71-62 victory over 2019 state champions and preseason No. 4 Ryle, Friday, the Valkyries led from start to finish in dispatching their long time rivals. Regan Bender led SHA with 14 points while Alex Wolff added 13 and Josie Gilvin had nine points and 16 rebounds.

 

"Gilvin was amazing," said Assumption coach Stacy Pendleton. "She was just flying around. She was like Wonder Women out there. She'd come from no where jump and get the ball. She impressed me."

 

SHA got off to a quick start leading 21-3 in the first quarter and 30-11 midway through the second quarter. Assumption went nearly six minutes without a field goal in the second quarter before rallying within 30-19 on Grace White's three point basket with 1:50.

 

It seemed every time the Rockets made a run Sacred Heart answered. White made a three pointer to begin the third quarter for the Rockets who trailed 34-22. A Courtney Williams layup got Assumption within 46-36 with 2:29 but got  no closer.

"We were just trying to attack the basket but our defensive transition was terrible," said SHA coach Donna Moir. "We were trying to play fast and we forgot about rebounding. We forgot about finding our girl in transition. We talked in the time out to keep the peddle to the metal and keep building it."

 

SHA scored nine straight points as Bender's basket gave the Valkyries a 55-36 early in the fourth quarter. 

 

"We just wanted to stay together keep the energy up, play together as we always do," said Gilvin. Sacred Heart shared the ball as they had 18 assist on 28 made field goals and only 12 turnovers. 

 

"This is a fun game (Assumption). We play our best against each other," said Gilvin.

 

The Valkyries made 28 of 62 field goals for 45.2 percent which included 13 of 27 in the second half.

 

Camryn Poole led Assumption (1-4) with 12 points. Nia Gandolfo added eight points and eight rebounds while Grace White had eight. The Rockets had troubles putting the ball in the basket making 13 of 53 shots for 24.5 percent but did make seven of 17 three point attempts for 41.2 percent.

Sacred Heart's quickness and height bothered Assumption. 

 

"We knew we had a height advantage going inside," said SHA coach Donna Moir. "They did a nice job."

 

Moir said she wasn't worried about a let down after Friday's win. "Our team plays with such energy. If you watch Josie and the energy she plays with. We talk all the time we got to feed off her energy. We came out right off the bat defending.

"We talked to our kids....it's a rivalry game. Anything can happen. They (Assumption) made some good shots."

 

Pendleton was impressed with SHA. "Their length and quickness we couldn't do anything with it. What we work on in practice you can't replicate that. They move the ball so quickly. They are so good at that."

 

Pendleton was happy with Poole "really scraped and did a lot for us. Senior Courtney Williams (seven points, six rebounds, two assist) she is kind of like the backbone of our team. They feed off her toughness and she's 5-foot-3 and second leading rebounder".

 

Nia Gandolfo added eight points, eight rebounds and three assist. "Nia played with a lot of energy. Was aggressive and believed she could get it done tonight."

 

It doesn't matter that SHA graduated four starters off last years Seventh Region champions. Here they are again. 

 
 

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